SUN Hockey Pool

Bettman contends NHLPA wasting time with labour board appeal

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency file photo)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency file photo)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:43 PM ET

NEW YORK - Another battle between the NHL and its players will be held Friday in a boardroom in Quebec.

The NHL Players' Association will try to have the threatened lockout of the Montreal Canadiens ruled illegal.

The players contend since the NHLPA is not a certified union in Quebec, the NHL cannot lock out the Canadiens players because it is illegal in the province to lockout out non-unionized employees.

"We don't believe the provincial jurisdiction on the labour front is something we are subject to," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday. "If this is a tactic to either delay or obfuscate the real issues, that's what it is. We went through this eight years ago. This is not new to us. We'll deal with it.

"It's unfortunate (deputy commissioner) Bill Daly wound up wasting a day doing nothing (on the labour board issue) when there are things that we are trying to do here. It's part of the process. We can only do what's presented to us and respond to it appropriately."

Daly spent the early part of the week dealing with a labour board issue in Alberta.

The NHL is threatening to lock out the players Saturday night when the collective bargaining agreement expires.

"Look, the players don't want to see hockey interrupted," NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr said. "We believe that under Quebec law, a lockout would not be appropriate and would not be legal so we are asserting that position. We would like to think that is consistent with the interest of the fans and eventually consistent with the interest of the owners, but we'll let the legal proceedings take care of themselves."

If the union's petition is successful, Canadiens players would have to be paid during the lockout.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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